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Environmental Issues in South America

 


Argentina
Current Issues: erosion results from inadequate flood controls and improper land use practices; irrigated soil degradation; desertification; air pollution in Buenos Aires and other major cities; water pollution in urban areas; rivers becoming polluted due to increased pesticide and fertilizer use
Natural Hazards: Tucuman and Mendoza areas in the Andes subject to earthquakes; pamperos are violent windstorms that can strike the Pampas and northeast; heavy flooding
International Agreements: party to - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Desertification, Marine Life Conservation B

 

 

Bolivia
Current Issues: the clearing of land for agricultural purposes and the international demand for tropical timber are contributing to deforestation; soil erosion from overgrazing and poor cultivation methods (including slash-and-burn agriculture); desertification; loss of biodiversity; industrial pollution of water supplies used for drinking and irrigation
Natural Hazards: cold, thin air of high plateau is obstacle to efficient fuel combustion, as well as to physical activity by those unaccustomed to it from birth; flooding in the northeast (March-April)
International Agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Desertification, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection

 

Brazil
Current Issues: deforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the habitat and endangers the existence of a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area; air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities; land degradation and water pollution caused by improper mining activities
Natural Hazards: recurring droughts in northeast; floods and occasional frost in south
International Agreements: party to - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified - Desertification

 

Chile
Current Issues: air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation contributing to loss of biodiversity; soil erosion; desertification
Natural Hazards: severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis
International Agreements: party to - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Desertification, Law of the Sea

 

Colombia
Current Issues: deforestation; soil damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions
Natural Hazards: highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts
International Agreements: party to - Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83; signed, but not ratified - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Tropical Timber 94

 

Ecuador
Current Issues: deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution
Natural Hazards: frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity; periodic droughts
International Agreements: party to - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

 

Guyana
Current Issues: water pollution from sewage and agricultural and industrial chemicals; deforestation
Natural Hazards: flash floods are a constant threat during rainy seasons
International Agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Whaling

 

Paraguay
Current Issues: deforestation (an estimated 2 million hectares of forest land have been lost from 1958-85); water pollution; inadequate means for waste disposal present health risks for many urban residents
Natural Hazards: local flooding in southeast (early September to June); poorly drained plains may become boggy (early October to June)
International Agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection; signed, but not ratified - Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Wetlands

 

Peru
Current Issues: deforestation; overgrazing of the slopes of the costa and sierra leading to soil erosion; desertification; air pollution in Lima; pollution of rivers and coastal waters from municipal and mining wastes
Natural Hazards: earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, landslides, mild volcanic activity
International Agreements: party to - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

 

Suriname
Current Issues: deforestation as foreign producers obtain timber concessions
Natural Hazards: No Information Available
International Agreements: party to - Endangered Species, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea

 

Uruguay

Current Issues: substantial pollution from Brazilian industry along border; one-fifth of country affected by acid rain generated by Brazil; water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal
Natural Hazards: seasonally high winds (the pampero is a chilly and occasional violent wind which blows north from the Argentine pampas), droughts, floods; because of the absence of mountains, which act as weather barriers, all locations are particularly vulnerable to rapid changes in weather fronts
International Agreements: party to - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation

 

Venezuela
Current Issues: sewage pollution of Lago de Valencia; oil and urban pollution of Lago de Maracaibo; deforestation; soil degradation; urban and industrial pollution, especially along the Caribbean coast
Natural Hazards: subject to floods, rockslides, mud slides; periodic droughts
International Agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Tropical Timber 94